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Check Your Tubes - A safety warning from John Richards

John Richards (W.R.V.) sent the club an article which was published in the Midge owners club magazine. It was written by Terry Weatherfield.

It relates to certain problems with the Midge chassis. The area of the chassis concerned is almost identical to the Locust chassis so John suggests you check yours for possible problems. He thinks that the problem may only occur (if at all) on the older chassis.

Please check anyway, better safe than sorry! here is an extract from the article;

"Whilst I was preparing the Midge for the show and my holiday the next week. I took the front wheels off to replace the disc pads and noticed that some recently applied paint had come off the small diameter tubes on the chassis which form the pivot point for the upper wishbone of the front suspension. When I took out the pivot bolts of both wishbones, three of the four tubes fell off, having broken off at the weld. The broken ends had chaffed causing the bolts to be loose and the wishbones flopped about on the bolts which are a clearance fit in the chassis. The symptoms I had noticed of late were that the car wandered at speed , it veered to one side during braking and creaked during braking at parking speeds. I ignored the slight wandering, put the creaking down to the coil over shocks, but decided to service the brakes to sort out the veering."

Terry contacted John Richards who made enquiries with the chassis manufacturers who told him that the latest tubes were made of thicker material (the originals being only 2mm thick), John arranged for some replacement tubes to be sent to Terry but as it happens terry turned up some of his own tubes in the end as the replacement parts were delayed in the post, Terry continues;

"I turned up some bosses out of rectangular bar so that I could weld them in two planes: welded to the chassis tube and to the plate which forms the spring seat. If the wishbone mounting tubes of your car have a wall thickness of 2mm then carefully check for cracks now. If they are o.k. it is my opinion that you can avoid failure by welding a small triangular plate between the mounting tube and the chassis tube to resist the bending forces, this may also help to prevent collapsing the tube when tightening the bolt. However this is best eliminated by beefing up the tube thickness or by making blocks as I did."

John offers his comments as follows;

"This problem certainly does not affect any chassis supplied by White Rose in the last two and a half years and as far as I can ascertain the Midge suspension tube was changed some 4 - 5 years ago to the current thick walled version as on the current Locusts. However early Locust chassis built before that date which might be affected are those built with upright square tubed suspension towers".

It is suggested that owners of mature Locusts chassis follow terry's advice and check their suspension top tubes (the ones through which the long Cortina top bolt passes) and if at all suspect, then as Terry is an experienced engineer, I can do no better than suggest they follow his advice and have the reinforcing gussets welded to those tubes.

Many thanks to John Richards and Terry Weatherfield for passing on this information.



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